Tofurious released a new SEO ebook specifically for photographers. Get it here. One of the first things he talks about is PageRank (PR), so I thought I would explain it in my own words. Google co founder Larry Page developed PageRank, which is Google’s score for each URL on the Internet on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest. Your specific score doesn’t matter as much as understanding the contributing factors to a high score. A URL with a high PageRank will outrank competing pages targeting the same search phrase.
While off-page SEO helps you rank high, you have to have a page in order to rank. So let’s dive into keyword placement as the prerequisite before PageRank begins.
Do HTML Titles have keyword relevant to page topics?
Here’s how search works.
- User types a topic into search
- Google looks for pages about that topic (in page titles)
- Google orders the results with highest PageRank first
Therefore the first step in ranking well is to create a page about the topic someone searched. If a bride searched “Catholic church wedding photographer” then you need a page with that phrase in the title, making it clear to Google you have a page about the topic.
Good news – you can easily get topics into your page titles with ZERO effort simply by writing blog posts about your sessions, and naming those posts specifically about the type/style/location of the session.
Are links from trusted, quality, or respected websites?
You now have a page about catholic church weddings, along with about a million other photographers. How does Google know which page to rank first given they all have similar titles and keyword placement? That’s where PR comes into play.
Google’s job is to show the best site first – the one a user most likely wants to see. Consider it a popularity contest. If we did a popularity contest using Facebook business pages it would be really simple. Who has the most connections, or is connected to the most influential people (like the President or something)? Quality and quantity of connections makes a page popular. Google uses this philosophy to check which websites have the most/best connections and increases PageRank accordingly. In this case, connections are links to your site from other sites (inbound links).
Company A was mentioned on nytimes.com and dozens of other popular websites. Company B was not. We can assume searchers would be more interested in the business linked from the New York Times and elsewhere since Company A is more popular.
The easiest and fastest way to build PageRank and rank higher is to get more links. SEO ebook for Modern Photographers includes a number of link building ideas. The best way is to contribute to other sites like write a guest post for a popular photography site like Style Me Pretty. Just remember you’re trying to develop popularity. If you comment on another blog or list your business in a directory, that link doesn’t mean you’re popular. Target photography sites and local sites in your city preferably without paying them for the link and without giving them a link in exchange (Google sees right through these tricks).
Link building is worth the time. I spend 25% of my time writing for others, just to build my SEO (with branding being a nice side benefit).
Age of Site
Has site or its domain been around a really long time, operating in the same way?
Ask me which business I’d hire. “Okay, Zach, which business would you hire… business A who’s been around 10 years, or business B who opened shop this year?” The answer is simple, people prefer a business with the longest experience and reputation. PageRank uses this psychology to rank give a higher score to older URLs so they have a better chance of ranking #1. Google wants to show the BEST page on Catholic wedding photography in order to satisfy the searcher, thus gives more weight to the 10 year old page.
For this reason, you often see old, crappy looking websites rank higher than yours. That 15 year-old photography site may not have any inbound links, but since it has been around since the dawn of the Internet (way back when Excite was a search engine) they get a high PR.
Don’t sweat your brand new site with low PR. I only mention it to distract you from changing your URL and to explain why some sites rank well for apparently no good reason.
126-Page SEO Resource
Tofurious has made a name for himself in the photography marketing space after helping lots of big names like Becker and Jasmine Star. His latest ebook with 126 pages of his tips and tricks should certainly help progress your search engine optimization strategy. You can download the first few pages for free to see what it is all about.
Photo credit: Photography by Anna Clark
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